MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 130, DENVER NUGGETS 115
February 1, 2022
• In 24:01 of action off the bench, Taurean Prince finished with a season-high 23 points, scoring a season-high for points in the quarter with 14 points in the second quarter. This marks his first 20+ point game of the season (40th career). He also grabbed a season-high eight rebounds. The 23 points off the bench mark his third career 20+ point game as a reserve, becoming the fourth Timberwolves player to score 20+ points off the bench, joining Malik Beasley (three times), Jaylen Nowell (once) and Jaden McDaniels (once).
• Prince ended the night shooting a season-high 8-of-12 from the field, including a season-best 6-of-8 from deep. Tonight marked his eighth career game with 6+ threes and became the ninth player in Wolves history to connect on 6+ treys off the bench.
• Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, good enough for his 17th 20+ point/10+ rebound game of the season (223rd career). Since coming into the NBA in 2015-16, Towns has is now tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the most 20/10 games in the NBA.
• With his seven assists, Towns notched his 22nd career 20+ point/10+ rebound/7+ assist game, the second-most in Wolves history (Garnett, 97).
• Jarred Vanderbilt finished with 18 points, nine assists, two assists and two steals. Of his 18 points, he scored 10 of them in the first quarter, tying his career-high for points in a quarter (10, 4Q at Golden State on Apr. 2, 2019). This marked his second career 10+ point quarter.
• Malik Beasley connected on four triples for 12 points. He has now registered at least four triples in 45 games, the second-most games in Wolves history behind Towns (46).
• After missing five games with a right ankle sprain, Patrick Beverley recorded 11 points, accounting for his 18th double-digit effort of the season.
• With the 130-115 win over Denver, Minnesota snapped a seven-game home losing streak, the team’s first win against the Nuggets at Target Center since a 112-106 overtime win on April 11, 2018.
• Minnesota has now won five-straight games at home (Jan. 5 vs Oklahoma City to Feb. 1 vs Denver), the second time this season with a five-game home winning streak (Nov. 17 vs Sacramento to Nov. 29 vs Indiana).
• The Timberwolves reserves scored 68 points tonight, a season high for the Timberwolves bench. This accounts for the 37th time in team history with 60+ bench points. The 68-point effort by the reserves marked Minnesota’s third-straight 50+ point output, the second time in team history that Minnesota’s bench has scored 50+ points in three-straight games (Apr. 9-April 13, 2021). The Timberwolves became the fourth team in the league this season to score 50+ points off the bench in three-straight games.
• Led by seven assists a piece by McLaughlin and Towns, Minnesota dished out 35 assists as a team, the ninth time this season the Wolves have dished out 30+ assists and are now 8-1 when registering 30+ in the category.
• Minnesota scored 100 points through three quarters, leading the Nuggets 100-78. This accounts for the sixth time this season scoring 100+ points through three quarters and 38th time in team history. Following tonight’s victory, Minnesota is now 6-0 when doing so.
• Minnesota forced 12 Denver turnovers with one quarter remaining, the 47th straight games forcing 10+ turnovers, extending the NBA’s longest active streak.
TIMBERWOLVES HEAD COACH CHRIS FINCH
On setting the tone defensively…
“Yeah, I thought, you know, once we took care of their cutting, they were kind of cuttin’ us up with a lot of slips and stuff early in the game. Once we took care of that and we were able to kind of figure out where the threat was going to come from, (Jarred Vanderbilt) was, you know, huge on the glass, as he always is. But yeah, I thought (Karl-Anthony Towns) did a really great job tonight on (Nikola Jokić), as well.”
On how the bench is impacting the game…
“Yeah, I think so. For sure. You know, we’ve kinda gone more to like a bench unit that doesn’t have any mixed lineup component to it and they’ve really pushed ahead. You know, they’ve taken some games and really pushed ahead in it and they’ve done a good job and you know it’s, they just move the ball because like, they need the ball movement and they play quick and they get out in transition and they really spread the floor and that’s super hard to guard sometimes.”
TIMBERWOLVES FORWARD TAUREAN PRINCE
On how the team plays to achieve the recent results…
“To me, I think that group has a lot of confidence. Naz Reid, Jaylen (Nowell), (Jaden McDaniels), (Malik Beasley), myself, they just come in with confidence that we’re one of the best players on the floor. We feel like we can be starters in this league, so I think the fact that we have guys that feel happy about their game and actually put in the work on a daily basis, and then to see it all happen, how it’s happening, it’s just a testament to the everyday work that we consistently put in.”
On trusting each other to build momentum…
“Well I think that’s what we’re kinda structured to do. I think being that way and playing that way and being that hard to guard, it gives guys like (D’Angelo Russell), (Karl-Anthony Towns), and (Anthony Edwards), (Patrick Beverley) those opportunities to get that rest on the bench. Trust the second group that nothing will be stagnant or have ball movement, but I mean, we all play off of each other so it’s pretty natural, but like I said, it’s really nothing special. We’re just taking what the defense gives us.”
TIMBERWOLVES CENTER KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
On his defensive strategy against Nikola Jokić…
“Just trying to put defensive pressure on him at all costs and all times. So trying to pick him up more. I think in the preseason, it showed picking up full court and acting like a guard. Tonight, pressuring, but just think, just using reasonable pressure, I think, over halfcourt. Trying to go cause some deflections just cause him just to have to have a second thought. (He’s) one of the best passers in the league, so it’s more about not only just stopping him from scoring but making him not see that play.”
On this team having what it takes…
“Yeah, I think we’re in a great spot. I think, it’s more than just the talent that the locker room has. It’s the character. These guys work tremendously hard, professionals at their craft up and down the list—just the mentality, willing to sacrifice, willing to be selfless. We just had a conversation there, it was like one of the few nights this season, but it’s a great night to have film of just—it just seemed like everyone was just making the right play, where we weren’t taking good shots, we were taking great shots. We were getting rebounds when we needed them, winning the 50/50 balls. Just moving the ball, and everyone feeling involved, and just having such great energy and spirit about us. It’s contagious. I think it helped us tonight and led us to a victory like we had tonight. We’re playing that way. We’re playing super selfless and just unselfish as ever. It’s very, very hard to beat us, and especially when I talk about being selfless, it’s also taking the charge, being in the right spot, doing what’s needed for our team to get a stop, a defensive stop, or making a cut, you may not get the point, but the person behind you gets the assist or the point. So, just a great game from our team. I’m very proud of us.”
DENVER NUGGETS HEAD COACH MICHAEL MALONE
On what he tells his team after the loss…
“Disappointing effort, disappointing night. I thought, first quarter, we were okay. We wind up losing that quarter by two points, and the game was lost in that second quarter—39 to 23. Obviously, our bench unit that came in, just, their bench dominated our bench in that first half. So we built ourselves a big hole and playing behind the rest of the way. That’s two games in a row, though, give Minnesota credit. They have definitely been the better team, the more aggressive team, the more physical team, and it showed. They had 20 transition points, they had 13 offensive rebounds for 19 points, and they made 19 threes. So, Taurean Prince and Malik (Beasley); Taurean had six and Malik had four, and those guys obviously should not be getting that many open looks where they’re shooting that efficiently. Obviously, we have one more game on this road trip. We’re trying to go to Salt Lake City and end this road trip on a win, but tonight was definitely a disappointing night across the board.”
On the second quarter…
“Once again, I think it starts with the approach. I think those guys were geeked up, ready to play, were the aggressor. They had us on our heels, I felt, most of the night. They were the more physical team. So literally, that second unit in the first half just moved the ball, got open threes, got whatever they wanted. We couldn’t score to save our lives in that quarter, and we couldn’t get any stops. So, obviously, we’ll watch the film, and figure out what we can and will do better.”
DENVER NUGGETS FORWARD ZEKE NNAJI
On the mentality going into tomorrow…
“Really, it’s just bounce back. We got a game tomorrow against Utah, so we can’t dwell on this for too long. We just gotta watch some film, analyze what went wrong, and come back a lot better tomorrow.”
On what went wrong in the second unit…
“We gotta be better on defense, have better discipline, better rotations, and then on offense, I feel like, at times, we were stagnant. We gotta get more movement involved, and get the ball whipped around and create more looks for people, set screens, cut through, things like that.”
NUGGETS CENTER NIKOLA JOKIĆ
On the game…
“We played really bad. I think we didn’t score at all and they were scoring so easy the whole second half. I think in one moment, they didn’t mess and shoot a really, really high percentage though, so I mean, not just that. I think the first quarter was only, it was close. Everything else, we lost-we didn’t actually. We won the last quarter. But yeah, they scored 130 points. They scored 18-19 threes. They were shooting really good. They had the 13 offensive rebounds. We had 12 turnovers. I mean, they played really good.”
On the mentality of the team…
“I mean, we cannot do anything about the last one, so we just don’t think about it, you know, so then after, tomorrow’s the next one and hopefully, we’re gonna do our job better.”
(info courtesy of Wolves)